Hot Water Heater Maintenance Plan – Should You Get One?

Having a consistent supply of hot water is no longer a luxury. In most homes, it has become a necessity for comfortable living to have hot water at the turn of the tap. There are different types of water heater systems found in homes today. Choosing the right kind of heater depends on several factors such as:

• Size
• Cost
• Energy efficiency
• Fuel type

Each type of water heater has unique features and benefits suited for varying household needs. If you are currently on the market to buy a new water heater, you can begin the selection process by learning more about each type of water heater.

Conventional storage tank heater

Perhaps the most common type used in most homes for many years, storage type water heater consists of a well-insulated storage tank where heated water remains on standby until requested at point of use. The storage tank has a temperature and pressure release valve to release pressure and reduce the temperature when needed.

Conventional storage tank type heaters are powered either by electricity or natural gas. In general, electric water heaters are easier to install because electricity is readily available anywhere in the country. Unfortunately, you won’t have a back-up in case of a power interruption. On the other hand, a natural gas powered hot water heater may be a bit costly to install, but it is more energy efficient than electric power heaters.

On-Demand water heater

Instant water heaters or tankless water heaters do not have a storage tank. Instead, water is heated as it flows through the heating system. Instantaneous water heaters are more energy efficient and favored in many modern homes. To ensure a continuous flow of hot water, you need to choose the right sized heater enough to meet the household demand.

Heat pump water heater

A heat pump water heater or a hybrid heater uses heat from the air and the ground and transfer it to water. Of all the types of water heaters, a heat pump is the most energy efficient. However, heat pumps may not be compatible in icy areas. It is also costly to install a heat pump than any other type of heater.

Solar water heater

As an alternative and clean energy source, you can tap solar power and use it to heat water for home use. You can have more savings with solar-powered heaters especially if you live in a region with sufficient sunlight. Although solar panels are increasingly becoming more affordable, the initial investment for a solar water heating system is still somewhat significant.

Essential Hot Water Heater Maintenance Tips

How you maintain and care for your water heater affects its lifespan. After heater installation, you need to pay attention to a few essential details in hot water heater maintenance and upkeep. Most of these are done only once a year or as frequent as every six months.

It won’t take much of your time to do your part in prolonging the life of your water heater.

• Be familiar with the type of water heater you own. Even if you buy a home that comes with a water heater, you still need to familiarize yourself with its make and model. At least find out the capacity and age of the unit. This information is vital when you schedule a hot water heater maintenance because the technician will ask for these details from you.

• Know where the unit is located and all the parts connected to it. The area surrounding the water heater unit should be clear from any debris or objects that may collide with it. The heater location should be accessible and unobstructed enough for a maintenance technician to move around in. No part or connection should be tucked away or difficult to reach.

• Check the pressure relief valve. Conventional water heaters with storage tanks have pressure valves to release pressure build-up. If you don’t release the valve in time, too much pressure can cause the tank to explode. Check the pressure relief valve from time to time or schedule a hot water heater maintenance with a professional technician.

• Lower the heater temperature. When the heater temperature is set too high, it may be a scalding hazard for children and older adults. Aside from this, when the heater operates at very high temperatures, it increases the heater wear and tear. Lowering the heater temperature also helps reduce your energy bills. However, when the temperature is set too low, bacteria and other microorganisms may thrive in the water. Keep the water temperature set to a safe level warm enough for a comfortable shower.

• Flushing the water heater. An important step in hot water heater maintenance is flushing the unit to remove sediment build-up or mineral deposits. For conventional water tanks, sediment will build-up at the bottom of the tank which reduces the heater efficiency.

With tankless heaters, calcium and magnesium in hard water will build-up in the system and cause the unit to shut-off or break-down completely. Regular flushing should be done at least every six months or once a year. For some heater models, you can find instructions on how to flush the unit yourself. Otherwise, you can always hire a hot water heater maintenance technician to flush the system for you.

These routine maintenance tips are sometimes overlooked by homeowners causing costly repairs and heater replacement. If you don’t want to worry about forgetting to maintain your water heater, you can schedule routine maintenance appointments with a certified heating technician in your area.

Water heater maintenance plan – Is it worth it?

Homeowners who feel they don’t have the time or skills to perform routine checks and simple maintenance on their heating system avail of a maintenance plan from heating contractors. Here are a few reasons why it can benefit you in the long run.

• Regular maintenance protects your entire heating system. With a hot water heater maintenance plan, experts HVAC technicians perform routine checks of your entire heating system throughout the year at regular intervals. You will benefit from preventive measures employed such as cleaning, inspection, and assessment. The technician can spot emerging issues and problems that are addressed before they become severe.

• Get priority service when your heating system breaks down. Scheduling an appointment for heating repair can be a hassle if it is done at short notice. If you have a hot water heater maintenance plan, you are given priority over other clients. You can have your heating unit serviced as soon as there is a technician available.

• Get covered for repair costs. This depends on the coverage your plan offers. In cases when the damage is sizeable, you get added insurance up to the extent the maintenance plan covers.

If you have a hot water heater maintenance plan, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your water heater is operating at optimum efficiency and you have a team of reliable technicians ready to assist you whenever there is a problem with the system. A maintenance plan is an excellent option to have especially in winter when the last thing you want to worry about is your water heater breaking down.

What to look for in a hot water heater maintenance plan

Different HVAC contractors offer varying services in every plan inclusion. Here are some of the services you can expect from a maintenance plan:

• Checking air filters
• Inspecting heating coils
• Cleaning and testing drains
• Lubricating moving parts
• Tightening loose electrical parts
• Checking voltage on motors
• Inspecting heat exchangers and burners
• Inspecting pilot lights
• Checking and adjusting the thermostat
• Examining heat anticipator settings
• Checking heat exchanger for cracks or damage

Most HVAC contractors offer homeowners with flexible payments plan. Once you sign up for a plan, you won’t have to worry about the condition of your heating system. To make sure that you get the best value for the service that you pay for, make sure that you conduct sufficient research about each HVAC contractor on your list. Allot some time to read online reviews and customer feedback. As much as possible, get written quotes from several contractors and compare the inclusions.

Fischer Heating guarantees homeowners that they will get the best value and expert services when they sign up for a maintenance plan. Contact Fischer Heating today to learn more about keeping your water heater in excellent condition in time for the coming winter.

Image Copyright: Tommaso Altamura / 123RF Stock Photo